One more win gives Strathmore outright championship

The Strathmore High School volleyball team is one win away from claiming the East Sequoia League title all to themselves after defeating Sierra Pacific 3-1 at home on Senior Night Monday evening.

The two-time defending ESL champion Spartans (14-4, 10-1 ESL) won the first, third and fourth sets 25-18, 25-12 and 25-21, respectively; dropping only the second set (25-20) to the Golden Bears (19-14, 8-3 ESL).

“It means a lot because now we’ll be able to look back and see that we had a successful few season,” senior Lucy Bennett said alongside senior Emily Kissick. “We’ve played since [we were] freshmen, so it’s great to see how we’ve both grown as players.”

The two captains had a big night for Strathmore with outside hitter Kissick racking up 15 kills, 15 digs, two assists and one ace. Middle blocker Bennett was right there with Kissick and had 10 digs, eight kills, five aces and two massive blocks. 

Also for the Spartans, senior Makayla Trujillo had 13 digs, six aces and four kills; senior Paige Borges had 15 digs and seven kills — including the last one of the match. Junior Jacelyn Ashcraft finished with 10 kills and three digs while sophomore Brooklyn Della had two aces. Sophomore setter Lena Bennett had 30 assists, 12 digs, four kills and three aces. Senior libero Giselle Arellano totaled 15 digs. 

On Wednesday, Strathmore travels to rival Lindsay (5-19, 3-6 ESL) for their final ESL game at 6:30 p.m. A win against the Cardinals would give the Spartans the outright ESL title. However, a loss would have Strathmore possibly sharing the ESL title with Woodlake (14-12, 9-2 ESL).

Last week in the team’s 3-1 win over Woodlake, SHS head coach Sonny Perez said the team is focused on getting to the CIF Central Section Division IV finals. MaxPreps.com has the Spartans ranked No. 5 but tournament seedings will be announced over the weekend.

“I feel great, I think we’re going to do pretty good,” Kissick said about playoffs. “I feel confident about it.”

CROSS COUNTRY

Mendez wins Rough Rider Invite

Monache High School’s Ivan Mendez had the fastest time of the day at Roosevelt High School’s Rough Rider X-C Invitational at Woodward Park in Fresno on Friday, Oct. 12.

Garrett Gough of Nevada Union led the race after the hills and would not relinquish the lead without a fight, desperately swerving to disrupt any type of passing in the final 400 meters. At one point the obstruction became so bad that Mendez was forced ten feet to the left edge of the course prompting him to respond, “Dude, quit cutting me off”, according to MHS head coach Seth Ishida. Ivan used his fantastic closing speed to overtake Gough in the last 200 meters and win with a new 5,000-kilometer school record of 15 minutes, 23 seconds for the course.  

After the hills Ivan reached the 2-mile mark at 9:58 and was a little slower than last week, but he finished with a much stronger mile. He was frustrated last week by an illness and is getting back into form. 

Isaiah Sotelo was inspired as well and ran a personal record of 16:22 to just miss a medal in 27th place.  On the two, Ishida said, “Isaiah has been Ivan’s primary training partner and I think something is rubbing off. They really help each other in the training and work together on a daily basis.”  

Giovanni Sanchez (17:19) was 86th, followed by Carlos Magana (17:31-PR) in 99th, Bryan Perez (17:32) placed 102nd to round out the scorers. 

Monache finished in 12th place out of 40 schools in the large division with 297 points.  Laguna Beach won the race with 61 points. Central Section Division II rivals Liberty of Bakersfield fourth with 173 points, Highland (275) 10th , Sanger (282) 11th.  East Yosemite League teams running included Tulare Western (766) 28th and Porterville (965) 33rd. 

“We were worn out at the [No.] 3 through 7 spots by a solid Tulare Western effort in a league meet on Wednesday,” Ishida said. “They looked a little tired, but it did not seem to bother Mendez or Sotelo. The 3 through 7 boys had a lot of pressure on them today.”

Ishida added, “The girls on the other hand had a very close race Wednesday with the entire Tulare Western team running with our 2 and 3 runners. We were losing at that point, so everyone had to panic a little and press hard the rest of the race. That set us back for Friday, but the girls are very consistent and kept it together.  It is amazing that they took fourth out of this very difficult field of 37 teams.  I am very proud of the work ethic and how these girls deal with pressure.  Everything did not go perfectly today, but they ran with a sense of purpose and toughness.  They never give up.”  

The Marauders’ Marilou Ruiz (18:56) placed fourth in the large school division while Chanel Bradley (19:48) placed 21st to round out the top 25 for the team.

Monache’s girls team finished with 178 points in fourth. Granada of Livermore had 21 points for 1st, Dougherty Valley of San Ramon (118) was second, Whitney of Rocklin (133) was third, Div. I Madera South (186) was fifth and Porterville (726) was 26th.  

In the small school’s division, Lindsay (199) girls placed sixth and Strathmore (709) placed 24th out of 24 schools. For the boys, Lindsay (394) placed 13th.

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